The future of a high-level grouping of so-called integrity agencies is in doubt after a parliamentary committee dismissed it as "an opportunity to get together for coffee".

The committee also said it was "of no tangible benefit" to fighting corruption.

The Integrity Co-ordinating Group is comprised of the Corruption and Crime Commissioner, Public Sector Commissioner, Auditor-General, Ombudsman and Information Commissioner.

Its stated mission is to "promote policy coherence and operational co-ordination" among members, who meet quarterly, as do their deputies.

In a backhander to the group's powerful members, including Public Sector Commissioner Mal Wauchope, CCC oversight committee chairman Nick Goiran said the public was entitled to ask "what is the point of an ICG".

"It's utterly irrelevant to the effectiveness of the CCC to be involved in this ICG," he said.

"It just seems like an opportunity for people to get around and have a cup of coffee."

In a report tabled in Parliament last week, the committee urged the CCC to reconsider its involvement in the ICG.

"The CCC Commissioner's time is money, his staff time is money and the CCC have got big issues to deal with in terms of their role as oversight of the police, and that's where we want them spending their time," Mr Goiran said.

He also flagged a new inquiry into whether participating in the group risked harming the CCC's independence.

He said the CCC was supposed to oversee other ICG agencies but the smiling faces of agency chiefs photographed together on the group's website could lead complainants to conclude they were "too cosy".

"Of all of those bodies, I think it's really important that the CCC is a stand-alone agency because they have responsibility to oversight the other guys," Mr Goiran said.

The little-known ICG gained prominence last year when Chief Justice Wayne Martin said in a speech he was concerned that, collectively, it risked going outside individual members' jurisdictions.

He noted that ICG members "appear quite enthusiastic about sharing information with each other but … some members of that group have been unwilling to provide information to the Parliament".

A CCC spokeswoman said it would study the report and consider the recommendations before making any decision.

The West Australian

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